Financial Education - SafeMoney.com

year end financial checklist

With the holidays upon us, many demands compete for our time. It can be hard to sit down and organize our financial lives as the year draws to a close. Indeed, it might appear easier to put off financial planning and review until the New Year.

That being said, there are still money moves you can think about doing before the year ends. After all, life doesn’t take a straight path. People’s needs, goals, and situations change.

Making these moves before year-end can help with managing money-related stress in the upcoming year. Not only that, it can help you get started on the right foot. And if by chance you could meet with a financial professional for your annual review, you could measure progress, see where to improve, and set new goals.

Here are some savvy money moves to consider making before the New Year rolls in, so you can improve your financial wellness, your peace of mind, and your bottom-line.

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4 steps to financial house order holidays

The holidays are approaching, and everyone is stepping into high gear. From Thanksgiving dinners and seasonal gift shopping to family get-togethers, these are busy but joy-filled times. Aside from the festivity, fellowship, and merriment, though, it can also be financially stressful for many households.

The holiday season brings more pressure to spend, and this can put strain on retirees, many of whom live on a fixed income. For lots of Americans, there’s also the issue of personal debt. Having the pressure of growing debt loads, many people feel the impact of debt on their retirement goals, not to mention other objectives. And excessive holiday spending can be partly to blame. A survey by NerdWallet found that 24% of shoppers overspent last year, while 27% made no budget at all.

The good news is with the right steps, financial wellness is within reach. If you are in your 50s or 60s, it’s prudent to start taking steps to set goals, plan for the future, avoid financial missteps, and make changes so your money works for you.

Here are some steps to get your financial house in order for the year-end and for greater financial confidence in the future.

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difference between traditional and roth ira

There are many types of IRAs. But two of the most common are the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. The type of account you select can have a significant impact on your long-term household savings.

The biggest difference between a traditional IRA and Roth IRA is their classifications in the IRS tax code. A traditional IRA holds the benefit of tax deferral, which means that money going into it has pre-tax status. On the other hand, since a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax dollars, it gives the benefit of potentially tax-free distributions. On top of these differences, both types of accounts have different rules for required minimum distributions.

Because of this difference and others, it’s important to understand the fundamentals behind these two plans. This brief discussion will help you understand their distinctions, their eligibility criteria, and other important factors. Let’s get into it.

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protect wealth academy

Brent Meyer, President and Founder of SafeMoney.com, recently sat down with Protect Wealth Academy (PWA). PWA is an organization which teaches investors how to protect their assets, minimize taxes, and create wealth. During the conversation, they talked about retirement planning, why it's critical to plan for a long retirement lifespan, as well as growth, income, and protection strategies using guaranteed insurance contracts.

You can read the interview in full here.

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More Americans Losing Sleep Over Money than Before Great Recession

Note: This is the fourth part of a month-long series on financial awareness in the U.S., and how investors are planning – or not preparing – for retirement. Here are some important takeaways that are keeping Americans from financial security and peace of mind.

For the first time in a long while, Americans are feeling more stressed than ever. If surveys are any indicator, money concerns are a big part of it. In fact, more Americans are losing sleep over money issues than before the Great Recession.

According to CreditCards.com, 65% of Americans report having insomnia over money issues – a 9-point jump from 56% in 2007. And what accounts for these new, high levels of stress? Here’s a quick look at the sleep killers for Americans in 2017.

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Financial Illiteracy and the Great 401k Experiment

Note: This is the second part of a month-long series on financial awareness in the U.S., 401(k) plans, and how investors are planning – or not preparing – for retirement. If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, read on for insights on how a lack of financial education can tie into people’s experiences with their 401(k) plans.

Financial Literacy: A Must for Retirement Success

Financial wellness is the ground-spring for a happy and financially secure retirement. As common sense may indicate, this begins with well-informed retirement planning decisions. But many Americans fall short in their knowledge of even the basics, as numerous consumer surveys document, year after year. And in turn, this knowledge gap can lead into broken retirement dreams: crushing debt, depletion of savings, scaled-back lifestyles, and other headaches that undermine Americans’ post-work standard of living.

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5 ways to boost your financial wellness during the holiday season

The holidays offer a great opportunity for us to reconnect with loved ones, relatives, and friends. From Thanksgiving dinners and seasonal gift shopping to holiday get-togethers and family gatherings, these times are truly special. But apart from the joy, merriment, good cheer, and great company, many Americans find this period financially stressful.

Discretionary spending, in the form of gift buying and other holiday shopping, ups the pressure on household budgets. And for a large proportion of retired and working Americans, the coming year-end may increase the brunt of existing financial pressures and obligations. Having sufficient income and healthy cash-flow is a concern for all households, especially people in their retirement years. The holidays are an ideal time-frame for financial review, but it can be intimidating to get our house in order, as personal finances are tedious, detailed, and, for many, overwhelming.

However, a secure financial life is well within reach, and it involves taking the right steps. If you are retired or approaching your golden years, read on for four quick tips to boost your financial wellness this holiday season.

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401k vs iul img

In the last decade, we had two major market crashes. Understandably, many working professionals worry about the long-term safety of their money. They may have retirement saving plans such as 401(k) plans at their disposal. But with its contribution limits, costly tax implications, and investment options’ exposure to market risk, the 401(k) can be unseemly for conservative-minded savers.

One trend we have seen is presentation of “IUL,” or indexed universal life insurance, as an alternative to the 401(k). To be clear, IUL isn’t an investment strategy, it is a type of permanent life insurance. So be wary of discussions in which IUL is treated as an investment vehicle, especially relative to a 401(k) plan.

With that said, IUL may be attractive to retirement savers, including younger professionals, on account of its more tax-efficient advantages over the 401(k), among other benefits. Some advantages include protection against market downfalls, more flexibility with contributions and money access, and better tax treatment for future income. Keep in mind, though – just like with any financial product, suitability will always depend on individual client needs, circumstances, and objectives.

Here’s a quick overview of indexed universal life insurance, and how it can differ from a 401(k) as a wealth-accumulating option.

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